Challenge to info boss begins court process

| 04/02/2013

secret.jpg(CNS): The governor of the Cayman Islands begins his bid this week to fight an order from the Information Commissioner that his office reveal a document relating to a controversial corruption investigation into the RCIPS under the freedom of information law. Lord Justice Moses from the UK appeals court will be sitting administratively in the first hearing on Friday regarding the first ever judicial review of a decision by Jennifer Dilbert, the information commissioner. Ironically, the first challenge to an order by the commissioner after some 28 decisions has come from the UK, which has pressed for more government accountability, via Duncan Taylor’s office and not from a political ministry.

The governor is fighting to keep under wraps the report into a complaint made by Martin Bridger, the senior investigating officer in the internal RCIPS corruption investigation, which also spread to the local judiciary, .

Following his departure from the Cayman Islands and the end of his investigation, Bridger had filed a complaint in the UK regarding the way that Cayman authorities, including the governor’s office, had dealt with the discredited investigation. The complaint was dismissed and Bridger was given sight of the document and the reasons why his complaint was dismissed but only on the condition that he did not reveal its contents.

A freedom of information request was then made for the document, which was refused and appealed. In her decision on the appeal Dilbert found in favour of release and ordered the governor’s office to make the document public. However, following the 45 day period the governor’s office filed an eleventh hour judicial review with the Grand Court to challenge Dilbert’s decision.

As a result of the nature of the judicial review and the governor’s efforts to keep the controversial document secret, it is extremely unlikely that the hearing will be open to the public.

The commissioner’s office is defending Dilbert’s decision under the law and is being represented by Broadhurst LCC, a local private firm. The attorney general, whose chambers played a significant role in the Operation Tempura case, will not be representing the governor. Instead, he will be represented by Walkers to deal with what is likely to be a costly legal battle funded by the public purse.

Bridger has also stated that he will be supporting the commissioner in the legal drama as he too has an interest in the document becoming public, believing that the content will vindicate his investigation, which has been heavily criticised, not least because of the arrest of a high court judge during the process of the corruption probe.

The arrest was ruled to be unlawful by Justice Sir Peter Creswell. Justice Alex Henderson, the judge in question, walked away with a payment of more than $1.2million in damages as a result.

Related article:

Henderson's lawyers confirm CI$1.275M settlement

Category: FOI

Comments (11)

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  1. Jonas Dwyer says:

    Well here we go the GUV does not want to release the info because it is privileged and could compromise the relationship between the UK and the  Cayman Islands.  Is there a precedent being set here , will we have more judicial review requests of the Information Commisioner's decision based on privilege?.

  2. Carrotcakeisgross says:

    There is no way this order can stand.  The FOI decision was a terrible piece of legal fiction.  There is no way that the request fell within compellable information and even if it did there is no jurisdiction over the Governor in the capacity in which the information was requested.

    • Anonymous says:

      Carrotcake….

      You're a real carrot.

      Justice Moses will decide who has jurisdiction over what…and its about time this Tempura dirty linen got washed out in public.

      Big up Jennifer for standing up for what is just and right…inspite of all the cover-up and corruption that she's up against.

      That some very important heads might roll…or some important people's reputation tarnished…or some important people might lose their jobs WHEN, not IF,this information is ordered released by the courts ?

      So be it.

  3. anonymous says:

    mek da wa poor ole mckeeva, yu wood neva ear de end a dat!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a shame.  Carma is a Bit-h What goes around come around.  These document should be opened to the public.  MsJennifer Dilbert is correct in her decision.  Mr Taylor should know that one day all the coverup was going to come to light.  He should have went home instead of asking for another year.  For What?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hope the Governor loses and the report is released. I believe Bridger and Polaine were hard done by by a conspiracy here in Cayman on the part of persons I will not name. I hope that the presiding judge was not chosen by officials here but by some independent, conflict of interest-free entity, but I recognise in saying that that everyone -ICO, FCO, Judiciary, Attorney General, and Governor – have a conflict of interest. It is a disturbing case.

    • Anonymous says:

      You believe Bridger and Polaine were hard done by a conspiracy? What was the conspiracy? Was it calling an end to the investigation before Bridger had made himself a millionaire?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, 19:51, it was calling an end to it before Bridger could expose some serious wrongdoing and corruption.

        • Anonymous says:

          With the cushy salary and other perks that he had negotiated for himself, I doubt that he was in a hurry to find anything of significance.

        • Tempura's ghost says:

          You want to read up on this. Bridger never had any evidence of 'wrongdoing and corruption'. What he had was a lot malicious nonsense, most of it coming from one (now departed) source.

          Do you remember him going before a groups of senior MLAs and claiming that RCIPS officers were involved in, amongst other things, murder? Don't any evidence coming out to back that up do you?

          In fact to date the only people who seem to under suspicion for 'wrongdoing and corruption' are the people who conducted the investigation. Wasn't the last revelation that £19K claimed in expenses couldn't be properly accounted for?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yep, this situation sure is ironic!

    Seems many want "freedom of information" as long as the info is about others eh?

    This does NOT give the appearance of "Transparency and Accountability Governor!